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Apple ends free iPhone 4 bumpers programme

Apple ends free iPhone 4 bumpers programme

Apple has confirmed that its free iPhone 4 bumpers programme will come to an end on 30th September.

The Cupertino smartphone maker has revealed that any iPhone 4 purchases after this date will be subject to the normal returns policy, which is to return the handset to the store for a full refund within 30 days of purchase.

Apple started offering the free bumper cases after widespread reports emerged of the handset’s antenna problems. Users complained of dropped calls when the handset’s left corner is covered with their hands. The plastic bumper, which entirely covers the steel band around the phone, is designed to boost its reception.

Apple has been at the receiving end of an onslaught of anti-iPhone 4 advertisements from rivals, but believes that the issue has been blown out of proportion.

It said in a statement: "We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought."

Steve Jobs has already apologised for the antenna problems in a press conference in July where he introduced the free case programme. He said that despite the so-called ‘antennagate’, only one per cent of customers had called the company to report antenna problems, well below the industry margin.

Commenting on whether or not the antenna issues have affected the iPhone 4’s commercial performance, Shaw Wu, analyst with Kaufman Bros, said: "I don't think it really matters", adding that it "didn't impact that many users to begin with."

The offer is said to have cost Apple nearly £130 million. Any iPhone 4 owner who has still not requested a free bumper is advised to do so before the cutoff date.

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